Population dynamics are intricately related to long-lasting processes of social, economic, and cultural change. This article gives the example of the Netherlands and shows that this European country strives to optimize the well-being of its population in terms of health, income, and labor participation. The Dutch population is among the youngest in an ageing Europe and will continue to grow for the time being. Population density is high, making space a critical issue. Many people would prefer a less populated country. Fertility is more or less stable at below-replacement levels without indications for major change. Women have their children at relatively advanced ages. The decline of the youngest population has more or less run its course, while the main thrust of population ageing is yet to come. No specific demographic targets have been set, or changed, in view of the emerging population decline, although a stationary population is viewed as most desirable. Policies will remain accommodative rather than directive. Lifelong education is promoted, female labor force participation has increased substantially over the past few decades, popularizing the one-and-a-half-income family (father working full-time, mother working part-time). However, concerns over late parenthood are increasing. Due to labor force commitments and the lack of child care facilities many young adults postpone having their babies. Family policies aim at making family and labor market careers more compatible.
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